The Immortal Who Loved Me(Argeneau, book 21)(78) by Lynsay Sands
“You were a mess,” Sherry said solemnly.
He nodded. “To tell you the truth, if your mother hadn’t been so exceptionally lovely, I’m not sure I would have recognized her in the ER when they rolled her in. I didn’t remember most of the women I slept with during that time.”
Sherry bit her lip. His being drunk didn’t excuse what he’d done, but surely it mitigated it somewhat? Maybe?
“I didn’t tell you this to give you an excuse. Being in that state does not take away my responsibility for my actions. I chose to be in that state, and then I went out and did exactly what my father said I would do and hurt someone,” Alexander said quietly now. “I didn’t know it until two months later, but I did. And when I realized . . . well, it was a wake-up call. I haven’t touched mixed blood since the day I saw your mother being wheeled into the ER.”
“Sherry said she didn’t think you’ve dated since then either,” Basil said, and it was a question.
Alexander nodded. “It wasn’t because . . . well, I just devoted all my time to Sherry and didn’t have time for women.” He shifted his gaze to Sherry and moved forward to grip the bars as he said, “So you see, I really did earn my punishment. And it won’t be so bad. I was only nineteen, and I’m still young so I heal fast. It’ll be over in no time,” he said with false bravado.
His expression turned serious then and he said, “I just . . . You’re my daughter. I love you, Sherry, and I have since the minute I laid eyes on your wrinkled, red little face in the hospital. And I hope you’ll come to forgive me for what I did to you as well as your mother. I want to continue to be a part of your life.”
She had a father. One who had always been there for her, and always would, Sherry realized. Tears blurring her eyes, she started to nod and then whipped her head around at the sound of a door opening. Lucian came into the hall with Mortimer on his heels. Her ten minutes were up.
Turning to her father, she reached through the bars to squeeze his hand, blurted, “You’ve always been here for me. I love you too,” and turned to hurry past Lucian and Mortimer with her head bowed so they wouldn’t see her tears.
She didn’t slow until she was outside the building, and then she spun to grab Basil by the front of the shirt and asked, “He was lying when he said it would be over in no time, wasn’t he?”
Basil grimaced. “I’m afraid so. Even though he was only nineteen, it takes time to heal between each . . . er . . . round of punishment,” he finished finally.
“Then you need to do two things for me,” Sherry said firmly.
“What’s that?” he asked warily.
“You need to get me a couple bags of one of those black market blood mixes, the blood of someone who has taken morphine maybe. And you need to get me in to see him right before the punishment, and I mean like right before.”
“Honey,” Basil said on a sigh. “The nanos will remove the morphine from his system long before the punishment is done.”
“Maybe, but maybe not. If the nanos are busy healing him, they might leave the morphine until they’re done,” she pointed out, and when he paused to consider that, Sherry added, “And it’s better than doing nothing.”
He peered at her silently for a moment, and then sighed and nodded. “Fine.”
“Really?” she asked with surprise.
Basil nodded. “I love you, Sherry. And I don’t want to see you unhappy or worried about your father’s punishment, so if it will help you, I’ll do it.”
“You really don’t think it’s going to work, do you?” she asked on a sigh.
“I don’t know,” he admitted solemnly, and she believed him.
Which meant it might work, Sherry thought hopefully, and then allowed her mind to move on to what was trying to crowd out worries for her father, “You said in the SUV and then again just now that you love me? Do you mean it?”
“Yes,” he said simply, his expression certain.
“But we haven’t known each other long, and—”
“You didn’t mean it then when you told me you love me?” Basil interrupted with concern.
“Oh, yes,” she assured him, slipping into his arms. “I realized that when Leo had me. You’re perfect for me, Basil. You’re a gentle soul with so much love to give. You’re kind and have a great sense of humor. I’ve never smiled or laughed as much with anyone as I have with you, and . . .” She shrugged helplessly. “I’m happy with you. I don’t feel anxious, or worried. I don’t have to edit what I say or think for fear that you’ll think less of me. I can be me and know that’s enough.”
“It’s more than enough,” Basil assured her, and bent as if to kiss her, but she stopped him with a hand at his mouth.
Arching one eyebrow, Sherry asked, “Aren’t you going to tell me why you love me?”
Straightening, he gave a nod, caught her hand and started across the yard.
“Where are we going?” she asked with surprise.
“Somewhere we can talk,” Basil announced, breaking into a jog, and moments later he was hustling her through a set of French doors and into what looked like a cross between an office and a library.
“Whose office is—?” Her question ended on a startled gasp as Basil suddenly tugged her into his arms and kissed her. Sherry hesitated, but then slid her arms around him and kissed him back, her body pressing eagerly against him.
When he broke the kiss and nibbled his way to her ear to say, “Brains,” she blinked and pulled back with shock.
“I love your brain,” he explained. “You wanted a list of things I love about you and that’s one of them. I love the way you think.”
“Oh,” she said with relief, “For a minute I thought we’d gone from Fright Night to Zombieland.”
“What?” he asked with bewilderment, apparently not understanding the association.
“Never mind,” she said, and smiled. “I like the way you think too.”
“Mmm.” Basil pulled her closer and bent to kiss her neck. “I love your sense of humor as well. And you also make me laugh more than I ever have before.”
“That’s nice,” Sherry breathed, tipping her head back out of the way as his lips trailed down her throat and along the collar of the scooped necked T-shirt she’d donned that morning.
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